10.12.2019   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 318/147


COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2019/2111

of 9 December 2019

in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe reducing the threat of illicit small arms and light weapons and their ammunition

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Articles 28(1) and 31(1) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,

Whereas:

(1)

On 19 November 2018, the Council adopted the EU Strategy against illicit firearms, small arms and light weapons and their ammunition entitled ‘Securing Arms, Protecting Citizens’ (the ‘EU SALW Strategy’).

(2)

The EU SALW Strategy recalls that while significant progress has been made in recent years, especially in South-East Europe, the scale of accumulation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and ammunition, inadequate storage conditions, widespread illicit possession and gaps in implementation continue to limit the effectiveness of firearms and SALW control efforts in parts of the Western Balkans, impacting security in that region as well as in the EU.

(3)

On 10 July 2018, the ‘Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024’ (the ‘Roadmap’) was adopted at the Western Balkans Summit in London.

(4)

The EU SALW Strategy notes that the Union will continue its support to the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) for SALW control activities and take into account regional initiatives, such as the Roadmap.

(5)

The goals of the Roadmap agreed by the Western Balkans partners are consistent with the efforts within the Union and the United Nations (UN) to combat the trafficking of SALW and their ammunition. In his 2018 Agenda for Disarmament entitled ‘Securing our Common Future’, the UN Secretary‐General specifically called for the excessive accumulation and illicit trade in conventional arms to be addressed, and for support to country‐level approaches on small arms.

(6)

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the ‘2030 Agenda’) affirms that combating the illicit trade in SALW is necessary for the achievement of many sustainable development goals, including those relating to peace, justice and strong institutions, poverty reduction, economic growth, health, gender equality and safe cities. Therefore, in target 16.4 of Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda, all UN Member States have committed to significantly reducing illicit financial and arms flows.

(7)

On 30 June 2018, the third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects adopted an outcome document in which UN Member States renewed their commitment to preventing and combating the diversion of SALW. UN Member States reaffirmed their willingness to pursue international cooperation and to reinforce regional cooperation, through improved coordination, consultation, information exchange and operational cooperation, involving relevant regional and sub‐regional organisations, as well as law enforcement, border control and export and import licensing authorities.

(8)

The project supported by this Decision aims to deepen and complement the assistance by the Union to SALW control. To date, that assistance has been provided by the Union through Council Decisions in support of SEESAC’s work in the Western Balkans region, namely Council Decisions 2004/791/CFSP (1), 2010/179/CFSP (2), 2013/730/CFSP (3) and (CFSP) 2016/2356 (4) and contributes to the achievement of the Regional Implementation Plan on Combating the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Roadmap goals supported by Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788 (5),

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

1.   With a view to the implementation of the EU Strategy against illicit firearms, small arms and light weapons and their ammunition entitled ‘Securing Arms, Protecting Citizens’, the overall objective of the project supported by this Decision and set out in its Annex shall be to further contribute to improved security in the South-East Europe region and in the Union by combatting the threat posed by illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in and from South-East Europe, Belarus and Ukraine.

2.   The project, which shall take into account other regional initiatives, in particular the Western Balkans Roadmap, the work of the Organization for Security and Co‐operation in Europe (OSCE) and relevant European Commission activities in the South-East Europe region related to arms control and illicit arms trafficking, shall have the following specific objectives:

to contribute to strengthened regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information‐sharing on SALW control;

to further support the development of a legislative and regulatory framework on SALW, firearms and explosives, and its harmonisation with the Union framework and standardisation in South-East Europe;

the continuation of support to evidence‐based policy‐making on SALW control addressing the needs of both men and women;

to build the capacity of border police and criminal police services of the Western Balkans to counter illicit trafficking and possession of firearms;

to improve capacity for physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) through infrastructure security upgrades, surplus reduction and training;

to build on the current work on the establishment of the Firearms Focal Points in South-East Europe.

Article 2

1.   The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (the ‘High Representative’) shall be responsible for implementing this Decision.

2.   The technical implementation of the project referred to in Article 1 shall be carried out by SEESAC, where necessary in coordination with the Driver of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) Firearms.

3.   SEESAC shall perform its tasks under the responsibility of the High Representative. For that purpose, the High Representative shall enter into the necessary arrangements with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which shall act on behalf of SEESAC.

Article 3

1.   The financial reference amount for the implementation of the project financed by the Union referred to in Article 1 shall be EUR 11 819 605,20.

2.   The expenditure financed by the reference amount set out in paragraph 1 shall be managed in accordance with the procedures and rules applicable to the Union budget.

3.   The Commission shall supervise the proper management of the expenditure referred to in paragraph 2.

4.   For that purpose, the Commission shall conclude the necessary agreement with UNDP, which shall act on behalf of SEESAC. That agreement shall stipulate that SEESAC has to ensure the visibility of the Union’s contribution, appropriate to its size.

5.   The Commission shall endeavour to conclude the agreement referred to in paragraph 4 as soon as possible after the entry into force of this Decision. The Commission shall inform the Council of any difficulties in that process and of the date of conclusion of that agreement.

6.   A detailed description of the project is set out in the Annex to this Decision.

Article 4

1.   The High Representative shall report to the Council on the implementation of this Decision on the basis of regular quarterly reports prepared by SEESAC.

2.   The Commission shall report on the financial aspects of the project referred to in Article 1.

Article 5

1.   This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption.

2.   This Decision shall expire 48 months after the date of conclusion of the agreement referred to in Article 3(4). However, it shall expire six months after the date of its entry into force if no such agreement has been concluded within that period.

Done at Brussels, 9 December 2019.

For the Council

The President

J. BORRELL FONTELLES


(1)  Council Decision 2004/791/CFSP of 22 November 2004 extending and amending Decision 2002/842/CFSP implementing Joint Action 2002/589/CFSP with a view to a European Union’s contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons in South East Europe (OJ L 348, 24.11.2004, p. 46).

(2)  Council Decision 2010/179/CFSP of 11 March 2010 in support of SEESAC arms control activities in the Western Balkans, in the framework of the EU Strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition (OJ L 80, 26.3.2010, p. 48).

(3)  Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP of 9 December 2013 in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to Combat the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition (OJ L 332, 11.12.2013, p. 19).

(4)  Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 of 19 December 2016 in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition (OJ L 348, 21.12.2016, p. 60).

(5)  Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788 of 19 November 2018 in support of the South-Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) for the implementation of the Regional Roadmap on combating illicit arms trafficking in the Western Balkans (OJ L 293, 20.11.2018, p. 11).


ANNEX

Project in support of reducing the threat of illicit small arms and light weapons and their ammunition in South-East Europe

1.   Introduction and objectives

Significant progress has been made in recent years in South-East Europe (SEE) in respect of enhancing arms control and countering illicit arms trafficking, not least because of sustained Union support. The SEE region, however, remains an area of concern and has been identified as a priority area in the EU Strategy of 19 November 2018 against illicit firearms, small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition entitled ‘Securing arms, protecting citizens’ (the ‘EU SALW Strategy’). Illicit firearms have a clear impact on internal and external security, by fuelling organised crime and terrorist acts in the SEE region and the EU. Therefore, establishing strong and efficient control mechanisms relating to arms transfers, use, possession and stockpiling of arms constitutes a significant contribution to regional, European and global peace and security.

In order to address the remaining challenges relating to SALW control, further support the authorities in addressing these challenges and reinforce the commitment to combatting illicit trafficking and misuse of SALW and firearms, a Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024 (the ‘Roadmap’) was adopted at the Western Balkans Summit in London on 10 July 2018. The Roadmap has seven goals covering all functional areas of arms control and envisions a Western Balkans which is a safer region and an exporter of security, where comprehensive and sustainable mechanisms, fully harmonised with EU standards and other international standards, are in place to identify, prevent, prosecute and control the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosives. The Union adopted in 2018 a Council Decision in support of the implementation of the Roadmap (Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788 (1)).

The South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), as the executive arm of the Regional Implementation Plan on Combating the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (the ‘Regional Implementation Plan’), supported the development of the Roadmap. Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788 mandated SEESAC with the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the Roadmap. Coordination among institutions, international organisations and donors under the Roadmap framework is mainly ensured through formal regional Roadmap coordination meetings focusing on taking stock of progress and information exchange, and through provision of expert and technical support to local Roadmap coordination meetings. Monitoring of implementation of the Roadmap is ensured through the development of biannual monitoring and evaluation reports documenting progress, challenges and needs in that implementation based on the commonly‐agreed Key Performance Indicators. In addition, SEESAC holds the secretariat role of the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi‐Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) set up to support the implementation of the Roadmap. SEESAC is working closely with the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission (DG HOME, DG NEAR), Europol, the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT), the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Interpol, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co‐operation in Europe (OSCE) and other relevant donors and international organisations that support disarmament and arms control activities in SEE.

The overall objective of this action is to further contribute to improved security in the SEE region and in the EU by combatting the threat posed by illicit SALW and their ammunition in and from SEE, Belarus and Ukraine. Its implementation will deepen and complement the Union assistance on SALW control provided through recent Council Decisions 2010/179/CFSP (2), 2013/730/CFSP (3), and (CFSP) 2016/2356 (4) (which expires on 29 December 2019). It will also contribute to the achievement of the Regional Implementation Plan and Roadmap goals supported by Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788.

The action will: contribute to strengthened regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information‐sharing on SALW control; further support the development of a legislative and regulatory framework on SALW, firearms and explosives, and its harmonisation with the Union framework and standardisation in SEE; continue support to evidence‐based policy‐making on SALW control addressing the needs of both men and women; build the capacity of border police and criminal police services of the Western Balkans to counter illicit trafficking and possession of firearms; improve capacity for physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) through infrastructure security upgrades, surplus reduction and training; and build on the current work on the establishment of the Firearms Focal Points in SEE.

The project will more broadly contribute to European and global peace and security and, at the same time, it will enhance regional stability by working within the framework of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and in partnership with other relevant international partners and initiatives.

The action will directly contribute to the implementation of the EU Security Strategy, the EU SALW Strategy, the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime (EMPACT Firearms), the Arms Trade Treaty, the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in SALW in All Its Aspects, the International Tracing Instrument, the UN Firearms Protocol, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and peace and security, and the UN Disarmament Agenda, and will specifically enhance regional cooperation in combating the threat posed by the spread of SALW and their ammunition. The project results will also directly contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda on peaceful and just societies, in particular targets 16.1 (significantly reduce all forms of violence and death rate everywhere) and 16.4 (significantly reduce illicit arms flows), and Goal 5 on gender equality. In addition, the project will support the implementation of the Commission’s Action Plan to target the illicit trafficking of firearms and explosives in the EU.

Specifically, the project will:

contribute to strengthened regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information‐sharing on SALW control;

support the capacity building of border police and criminal police services of the Western Balkans for countering illicit trafficking and possession of firearms;

support further enhancement of capacities for PSSM.

2.   Selection of implementing agency and coordination with other relevant funding initiatives

SEESAC is a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the RCC, and as such is the focal point for SALW‐related activities in SEE. As the executive arm of the Regional Implementation Plan, it has been working since 2002 with stakeholders in SEE on implementing a holistic approach to SALW control through the execution of a wide spectrum of activities including: the facilitation of strategic and operational regional cooperation; supporting policy development and capacity enhancement for institutions; awareness‐raising and SALW collection campaigns; stockpile management, surplus reduction, improved marking and tracing capabilities; and improved arms export control. Consequently, SEESAC has acquired a unique capacity and experience implementing multi‐stakeholder regional interventions against the shared political and economic background of the partners in the SEE region, ensuring national and regional ownership and the long‐term sustainability of its actions and establishing itself as the primary regional authority in the field of SALW control.

SEESAC maintains bilateral and multilateral channels of communication with all relevant actors and organisations. In that regard, it continues to serve as the Secretariat of the Regional Steering Group for SALW (RSG). In addition, SEESAC holds the Secretariat of the Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction (RASR) initiative and has also been appointed as the Secretariat of the MPTF. SEESAC is also part of the SALW/MA Coordination Meetings, an informal coordination mechanism on SALW control activities that operates between NATO, the Union, OSCE, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and SEESAC. SEESAC regularly contributes to relevant regional fora such as the EU‐Western Balkans meetings of ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, the NATO structural information exchange process on SALW and the South‐Eastern Europe defence ministerial (‘SEDM’) process. In addition, SEESAC continues to maintain a wide network of formal and informal partnerships with organisations such as RACVIAC (Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre) ‐ Centre for Security Cooperation and the OSCE’s Forum for Security Cooperation. Regular coordination meetings as well as information exchange take place with other UN agencies, such as UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and UNODA, through the UN Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) as well as other formats. SEESAC therefore serves as a regional hub and focal point for a wide spectrum of issues related to security sector reform, with a particular focus on SALW control and stockpile management. SEESAC maintains close contact with and provides support to relevant Union actors, primarily DG NEAR, DG HOME, Europol, Interpol and Frontex, as well as EU‐led initiatives such as EMPACT Firearms, and the European Firearm Experts (EFE) Group. This enables a more effective outreach to the SEE counterparts.

Based in Belgrade, SEESAC currently operates throughout SEE, with activities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo (*1), the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia as well as limited support to Belarus and Ukraine. In the past, it also operated in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. Regional ownership is ensured through the RCC as well as through the RSG, where representatives of all countries in SEE provide strategic guidance, initiatives and requests for support.

SEESAC has pioneered an approach based on tackling shared problems through regional initiatives, which has wielded impressive results in SEE, not only because of the crucial information‐sharing and promotion of healthy regional competition which it sparks, but also because it helps achieve consistent and easily measurable results at national and regional level through a holistic implementation modality.

SEESAC implemented its previous Union‐funded projects with a very high delivery rate of the envisaged activities, delivering sustainable project results by developing and fostering national ownership of its projects and activities, and promoting regional coordination, experience and the sharing of best practices, as well as regional research. Its SALW expertise and in‐depth knowledge of regional affairs and relevant stakeholders make SEESAC the most suitable implementing partner for this particular action.

3.   Project description

The new phase of the project will build upon the basis of the achievements under Council Decisions 2004/791/CFSP (5), 2010/179/CFSP, 2013/730/CFSP, (CFSP) 2016/2356 and in complementarity with the ongoing Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788. It will focus on three main areas, maintaining the holistic approach to tackling the threat posed by SALW in the SEE region.

The three areas address the strategic and policy level as well as the operational aspects, thus directly assisting all levels of SALW control with a focus on: strengthening regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information‐sharing; capacity building of border police and criminal police services of the Western Balkans in countering illicit trafficking and possession of firearms; and improvement of capacities for PSSM through infrastructure security upgrades, surplus reduction and training.

In particular, the project will result in:

strengthened regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information‐sharing on arms control;

enhanced capacities of border police and criminal police services of the Western Balkans in countering illicit trafficking and possession of firearms;

improved capacities for PSSM through infrastructure security upgrades, surplus reduction and training.

The project’s strategy is grounded in SEESAC’s unique approach of fostering confidence and cooperation in the SEE region as a prerequisite for achieving concrete and measurable transformational change. In particular, at the regional level, different cooperation processes facilitated by SEESAC, involving both policy‐makers and operational‐level practitioners, have proven to be an essential ingredient in ensuring an enabling and competitive environment for knowledge transfer, expertise exchange and information‐sharing. This has served not only to increase the capacities in the SEE region, but more importantly to build confidence and establish direct cooperation among institutions and individual experts, which, amongst other factors, enabled the development of the Roadmap. In addition, the regional cooperation approach has made the SEE region more transparent and efficient in its efforts to control the arms trade, with the result that the SEE countries are among the most transparent globally in their reporting on arms transfers. Therefore, the project will continue to foster regional cooperation as the essential enabling element for measurable results.

The project’s geographic scope is SEE, with direct project beneficiaries being the relevant authorities in Albania, BiH, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of North Macedonia and Kosovo (*). In addition, the project will seek to continue the support to Eastern European countries dealing with similar SALW control challenges, notably Ukraine and Belarus, through their engagement in the transfer of knowledge and experience gained and the best practices developed in the Western Balkans since 2002.

3.1.   Facilitation of regional cooperation and support for evidencebased policymaking on SALW control, thus further contributing to the reduction of the threat of illicit proliferation of SALW

Objective

The aim of the first component is to further contribute to strengthening capacities to design and implement evidence‐based SALW control policies and standardisation of approaches through regional cooperation at the strategic and operational levels of SALW Commissions and the South-East Europe Firearms Experts Network (SEEFEN), information exchange and sharing of good practice, increased capacity for data collection and analysis, harmonisation and standardisation of SALW legislative and regulatory frameworks, and the consistent integration of gender perspective into SALW control policies. This, in turn, will contribute to the achievement of Roadmap Goals 1, 2 and 3.

Description

Building upon the successful approach of facilitating networking at regional level, this component will continue to facilitate regional cooperation between SALW Commissions through regular regional meetings, information exchange and work on collecting data and increasing capacity for evidence‐based policy‐making. Transparency of arms transfers will also be increased through the partial integration of the regional information exchange process on arms transfers into the SALW Commission cooperation process, as well as support for continuing transparency of arms transfers in SEE. In addition, this component envisages the transfer of SEE‐acquired expertise to other regions in order to support the Union’s interventions in other areas. Finally, this component will provide technical support through targeted and on‐demand policy‐relevant research and briefs for policy‐makers.

Additionally, considering the risk of illicit trafficking of firearms towards the Union, as well as the use of firearms in organised crime and terrorist incidents, the development of robust information‐gathering and exchange systems and mechanisms is an essential element in efforts to combat this threat. Through its longstanding work in the SEE region, and especially through the successful implementation of Council Decisions 2013/730/CFSP and (CFSP) 2016/2356, including the establishment and facilitation of SEEFEN, SEESAC has been at the forefront of such efforts, acting as a convener of cooperation processes while working to increase the capacity of law enforcement agencies for marking, tracing and record‐keeping, including through technical assistance and support for the establishment and enhancement of record‐keeping systems. As such, this component will build upon the basis established in the previous period by further strengthening SEEFEN, while at the same time using it as a platform for increased cooperation among law enforcement agencies in SEE and beyond to combat illicit trafficking of SALW and their ammunition. All activities of SEEFEN will be closely coordinated with and contribute to the efforts of Europol, EMPACT, EFE, DG Migration and Home Affairs, Interpol, Eurojust and Frontex, as well as other relevant actors.

Lastly, the component will aim to address the evident and urgent need for a tighter legislative and regulatory framework on SALW and firearms control in the Western Balkans to effectively regulate arms control and facilitate the response to relevant threats. This will consequently enable the compatibility of laws and procedures on arms control in the Western Balkans and the standardisation of SALW and firearms control procedures and practices. Such standardisation would allow for the removal of obstacles preventing law enforcement agencies and the judiciary from cooperating directly, exchanging information and conducting joint or parallel investigations. Additionally, as the gender perspective is often neither fully recognised nor adequately addressed by legislative and policy frameworks regulating SALW control in SEE, thereby making the arms‐control efforts less efficient in providing security for all citizens, whether women, men, girls or boys, the project will also contribute to further integrating the gender perspective in arms control legislation. It will do so, building upon the support provided through the implementation of Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788, by developing tailor‐made national and regional thematic workshops, updating the regional arms‐law compendium and carrying out a gender screening of the legal framework of the project beneficiaries in order to ensure that policies regulating arms control are not silent about the links between SALW and gender.

Specifically, the project envisages the facilitation of regional cooperation and support of evidence‐based policy‐making in SALW control through:

regional meetings of SALW Commissions (twice per year) in SEE focusing on information exchange and knowledge‐sharing on, and standardisation of, arms control policies;

regional meetings of SEEFEN (twice per year) focusing on operational information exchange and cross‐border cooperation in fighting illicit trafficking of firearms;

provision of on‐demand technical advice and expertise to SALW Commissions and SEEFEN in order to enhance policy development, design, adoption and implementation;

on‐demand support for harmonisation of arms control legislation for relevant amendments regarding EU legislation on arms control and standardisation throughout the SEE region (2022‐2023);

support for SALW data collection and analysis based on recommendations of the regional SALW Surveys;

maintenance of the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform and regular dissemination of a SEE Armed Violence Monitor enabling capture of trends;

further integration of gender perspective in SALW control policy‐making;

transferring of expertise to Belarus and Ukraine through facilitation of participation in selected formal meetings and SALW control tools;

maintenance of the online information exchange platform and its enhancement through the development of policy‐relevant on‐demand knowledge products.

Project results/implementation indicators:

organisation of up to eight regional meetings of SALW Commissions;

organisation of up to eight regional meetings of SEEFEN (twice yearly) focusing on networking and information exchange between law enforcement firearms experts;

enhancing capacities of SALW Commissions and SEEFEN members through targeted training sessions and the provision of technical and advisory support;

enabling information exchange, knowledge transfer and standardisation of approaches;

organisation of up to ten thematic workshops for the beneficiaries supporting harmonisation of legislation with the Acquis and standardisation within the SEE region;

provision of expertise on legislative and policy updates with the aim of harmonisation with the EU regulatory framework and standards;

publication of monthly monitors on armed violence trends throughout the SEE region;

ensuring data collection, analysis and dissemination from authorities based on SALW Survey recommendations;

integration of gender perspective in SALW policy‐making;

further development of the weapons registry system in the Republic of Moldova;

facilitating knowledge exchange and information‐sharing with the authorities of Belarus and Ukraine.

3.2.   Further support to capacity building of law enforcement and border authorities in preventing and countering illicit arms and explosives trafficking

Objective

The aim of the second component is to ensure the required support to counter illicit trafficking of SALW through improved processes, equipment and training of targeted law enforcement institutions, in line with Goal 3 of the Roadmap, calling for a significant reduction of illicit flows of firearms, ammunition and explosives until 2024.

Description

This component will support capacity building of the regional authorities to perform both preventive and repressive activities necessary to successfully identify, thwart and counter trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosives from and through their jurisdiction. The European Agenda on Security identified the fight against trafficking in firearms as one of its priority actions. It called for a review of the legal framework and reinforcement of the fight against firearms trafficking. Sources of illicit firearms and explosives trafficking are diverse, and controls at the external border and police and customs cooperation remain of paramount importance, as set forth in the EU SALW Strategy. At the SEE regional level, the Union and its Member States will assist in strengthening law enforcement capabilities in order to identify, disrupt and prevent trafficking networks and prevent firearms from reaching terrorists and criminals via the illicit market, inter alia by blocking the illicit financing and transport of arms and enhancing the role of border police, customs and port authorities. Due to the cross‐border nature of arms trafficking, it is particularly important to provide support also to the neighbouring countries.

Strengthened cross‐border control is one of the central requirements for a comprehensive approach towards combating illicit trade and flows of firearms, essential components, ammunition and explosives in the Western Balkans.. Effective border controls serve not only as a deterrent to crime in all its facets, but also as a confidence‐building measure. Strict and effective border control is a foundation to any long‐term programme of national and regional security. A preliminary assessment of the capacities of border services of the jurisdictions was performed under Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and the focus was primarily on the administrative and technical capacities of the border police. The strengthening of overall capacities is necessary to effectively suppress the trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives across borders. That preliminary assessment has shown in particular the lack of targeted training on detection of firearms at borders, except for BiH, as the border police services have limited equipment to conduct detection at border posts as well as at the green border. Furthermore, weapons are more frequently produced from new materials, and these cannot be detected by metal detectors or detected by dogs that are trained to smell gun powder.

The assistance within this component will focus on the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and procurement of equipment for border services and criminal police for suppression of trafficking and illegal possession of firearms. Additionally, thematic trainings at the level of jurisdictions and regional workshops will take place. The proposed activities will complement the work of SEEFEN and be closely coordinated with other ongoing Union‐supported actions in SEE, primarily the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime and specifically the operational action plans of EMPACT Firearms, as well as the activities of Europol, Frontex and Interpol.

It will do so through:

the provision of equipment and training for border management in countering illicit arms trafficking in support of border police authorities in Albania, Kosovo (*), Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia;

the provision of equipment and training for criminal police in countering illicit arms trafficking in support of criminal police authorities in Albania, BiH, Kosovo (***), Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia.

Project results/implementation indicators:

development of up to 6 SOPs per border service;

equipment for suppression of illicit arms trafficking procured, and training for usage of equipment provided;

organisation of up to six thematic trainings per border service;

organisation of up to four regional workshops for border services;

up to 6 SOPs for criminal police developed per jurisdiction;

provision of equipment for criminal police, and training for usage of equipment;

organisation of up to six thematic trainings for criminal police per jurisdiction;

organisation of up to four regional workshops for criminal police.

3.3.   Improvement of capacities for physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) through infrastructure security upgrades, surplus reduction and training

Objective

To reduce the risk of proliferation through the enhancement of weapons and ammunition stockpile security and reducing surplus stocks of SALW.

Description

The aim of the third component is to support authorities of the interior and police authorities to further improve security infrastructure and standard operating procedures for priority storage locations, which still pose a significant risk of theft and illegal proliferation of SALW and their ammunition. This component is building on Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and is in line with Goal 7 of the Roadmap aimed at a significant decrease of the risk of proliferation and diversion of firearms, ammunition and explosives, and Goal 6 aimed at a systematic decrease of surplus and destruction of seized SALW and ammunition. SEESAC has successfully been using a two‐pronged approach of: (1) improving the security of storage locations; and (2) building the capacity of the personnel tasked with managing stockpiles, significantly increasing security provisions and reducing the risk of the unwanted proliferation of stockpiles of SALW and their ammunition. In line with a comprehensive approach to PSSM of SALW and their ammunition, SEESAC expanded this approach by merging it with the reduction of surpluses, therefore further reducing the risks of proliferation.

The project will continue to improve the security of weapons and ammunition storage in SEE by providing further specific technical and infrastructural assistance in line with international best practices and standards. While security in military storage locations has been significantly increased under Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP, SEESAC has identified stockpiles held by police and authorities of the interior as an area of concern due to the lack of capacity for safeguarding, inadequate record‐keeping and stockpile management capabilities, and more complex systems which include formation weapons as well as confiscated firearms. Support will be provided for enhanced security of police/authority of the interior SALW storages and evidence rooms through infrastructure upgrades. Evidence rooms located in local police stations are a priority, as a potential hazard for diversion exists but also in terms of public safety where several hazardous materials are kept together under poor storage conditions. Support will also be provided for reduction of surplus or confiscated SALW and ammunition thus further decreasing the risk of their illicit proliferation.

Main activities envisaged:

support for enhanced security of police/authority of interior SALW storages and evidence rooms through infrastructure upgrades;

support for destruction of surplus and/or confiscated SALW;

provision of regional thematic workshops in the field of weapons and ammunition stockpile management;

strengthening the capacities of relevant state institutions to establish inspection systems.

Project results/implementation indicators:

security of one storage location enhanced in accordance with international standards and best practices;

security of up to 18 evidence rooms increased;

a total of up to 12 000 pieces of conventional weapons destroyed;

a total of up to 22 000 pieces of ammunition destroyed;

up to three thematic workshops provided.

4.   Beneficiaries

The direct beneficiaries of the project will be the institutions responsible for SALW control in SEE. The authorities of the interior, police services, border guards, criminal investigators, prosecutors and customs authorities of the Republic of Albania, BiH, Kosovo (*), the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia will benefit from information exchange and knowledge‐sharing leading to standardisation through regional cooperation, capacity development, improved procedures and provision of targeted specialised equipment necessary for policy, operational and technical advancements in SALW control. Finally, SALW Commissions and other institutions responsible for the control of SALW in SEE will benefit from training and information‐sharing as well as regional cooperation. In addition, key institutions tasked with SALW control in Belarus and Ukraine will benefit from a better understanding of the illicit firearms trafficking threat and targeted knowledge transfer.

The proposed activities are fully in line with the national priorities on SALW control and the Roadmap, and have been endorsed by the relevant national SALW control authorities, demonstrating their buy‐in and commitment to the achievement of project results.

The general population of the countries in South-East and East Europe and the Union, at risk from the widespread proliferation of SALW, will benefit from this project as the risk decreases.

5.   Union visibility

SEESAC shall take all appropriate measures to publicise the fact that the action has been funded by the Union. Such measures will be carried out in accordance with the Commission's Communication and Visibility Manual for European Union External Actions. SEESAC will thus ensure the visibility of the Union's contribution with appropriate branding and publicity, highlighting the role of the Union, ensuring the transparency of its actions and raising awareness of the reasons for the project as well as Union support for the project and the results of this support. Material produced by the project will prominently display the EU flag in accordance with Union guidelines for the accurate use and reproduction of the flag.

Given that planned activities vary greatly in scope and character, a range of promotional tools will be used, including: traditional media; websites; social media; and informational and promotional materials including infographics, leaflets, newsletters, press releases and others, as appropriate. Publications, public events, campaigns, equipment and construction works procured under the project will be branded accordingly. To further amplify the impact by raising awareness among various national governments and the public, the international community and local and international media, each of the project target groups will be addressed using the appropriate language. Particular focus will be placed on new media and online presence.

6.   Duration

Based on the experience of implementing Council Decisions 2013/730/CFSP, (CFSP) 2016/2356 and (CFSP) 2018/1788 and taking into consideration the regional scope of the project, the number of beneficiaries and the number and the complexity of planned activities, the timeframe for implementation is 48 months.

7.   General setup

The technical implementation of this action has been entrusted to UNDP, acting on behalf of SEESAC, the regional initiative working under the mandate of UNDP and the RCC, successor to the Stability Pact for South‐East Europe. SEESAC is the executive arm of the Regional Implementation Plan and, as such, acts as a focal point for all SALW‐related issues in the SEE region, including facilitating coordination of the implementation of the Roadmap.

UNDP, acting on behalf of SEESAC, will have the overall responsibility for the implementation of project activities and accountability for project implementation. The project duration is four years (48 months).

8.   Partners

SEESAC will directly implement the action in close cooperation with SALW Commissions as well as with the authorities of the interior and police services of Albania, BiH, Kosovo (*), the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia, and relevant institutions in Belarus and Ukraine. Other institutions will be closely involved in line with the established multi‐stakeholder holistic approach to SALW control.


(1)  Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1788 of 19 November 2018 in support of the South-Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) for the implementation of the Regional Roadmap on combating illicit arms trafficking in the Western Balkans (OJ L 293, 20.11.2018, p. 11).

(2)  Council Decision 2010/179/CFSP of 11 March 2010 in support of SEESAC arms control activities in the Western Balkans, in the framework of the EU Strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition (OJ L 80, 26.3.2010, p. 48).

(3)  Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP of 9 December 2013 in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to Combat the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition (OJ L 332, 11.12.2013, p. 19).

(4)  Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 of 19 December 2016 in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe in the framework of the EU Strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition (OJ L 348, 21.12.2016, p. 60).

(*1)  This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

(5)  Council Decision 2004/791/CFSP of 22 November 2004 extending and amending Decision 2002/842/CFSP implementing Joint Action 2002/589/CFSP with a view to a European Union’s contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons in South East Europe ( OJ L 348, 24.11.2004, p. 46).

(*)  This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

(*)  This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

(*)  This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

(*)  This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.